31 January 2012

Topical Tuesday: Art

I know it is Topical Tuesday and everyone is waiting to hear about the latest in the media. This is the extent of my newsworthy abilities - I watch New York 1 News for traffic and weather in the mornings. Other than that, I don't care for news. I find the television newscasts increasingly depressing and somewhat of a brain-wash machine. However, I do read the newspaper because I can pick and choose what interests me (Science section of the New York Times), as opposed to a television broadcast, in which I am told what to believe and think. Make sense? A bit judgmental but that's how I feel about the media.

Today, I want to talk about art. Just so everyone knows - I am not an artist nor have I majored in art or art history. I just have a great appreciation for those who can draw, sculpt, create and push the boundaries of what is beautiful.

I love surrealism. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary it is defined as "the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations." I love how you find little nuances of reality in these picturesque and dream-like paintings.

M. C. Escher, Relativity

When teaching tessellations to my Geometry class, my students and I stumbled upon some really great paintings from Escher. He has one with birds and fish called "Sky and Water I." It is a repetitive pattern of objects and one blends into another. Really awesome. The one above is an infinite staircase with no destination. The staircases are located in several sections of the painting and each one is a matter of perspective. For instance, the one in the middle has an individual walking up/ down the stairs from both above and beneath the staircase. Really cool!

Rene Magritte, Golconde

Magritte is another favorite of mine. He takes realistic locations, objects and people and adds a little twist to each painting. There is one called "The Portrait," and it depicts a very common table setting. However, in the middle of the plate is a piece of ham and the ham has an eye in it's center. A little creepy if you ask me but I suppose Magritte was looking for a reaction. The one above is called "Golconde." I like to call it "Raining Men" but my friends tell me that hubby will spank me if he finds out I am gawking at men falling from the sky. :P

Salvador Dali, Swans Reflecting Elephants

This one is a fairly new find for me. My friend and co-worker, P. Taylor, introduced me to Salvador Dali. His paintings are really fantastic. If you look at the photo, you see some swans swimming in the little waterhole. However, upon closer inspection, you see that the swans' reflections are elephants! In the rock face, there are subtle outlines of both animals and I'm sure if I could see an enlargement of this painting, there would be more treasures to find.

Georges-Pierre Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

It's vibrant, not really surrealism but truly wonderful. It's a masterpiece that insightfully conveys the subtleties of color, light and form. There is a playfulness from the pets and most individuals seem to be facing the lake. The people in the painting have faces but are obscured somewhat in the style of Monet's Waterlilies. The parasols and bustles are typical of the late 19th century fashion for women. Beautiful painting. Thanks to my friend and co-worker, R. Mills, for finding it for me!

Look familiar? Yes, it is my favorite sitcom, The Office and in this cover art shot for Season 8, the photographer mimics Seurat's Sunday Afternoon by placing the cast in the same poses as the painting. Nice!

What is your favorite artist, painting, or period in art history?

Image 1 taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Image 2 taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Image 3 taken from here.
Image 4 taken from here.
Image 5 taken from here.
Image 6 courtesy of Comics Bulletin.


Jan Morrison said...

oh oh! I had topical tuesday down in my book -eeek. well two can't be bad...
heh heh. havening just finished Kingsolver's The Lacuna, I'm full of thoughts of art as well. Right now I'm loving Frida Kahlo - actually I've always loved her surrealistic view of life.

ViolaNut said...

The schedule got goobered and Tami revised it two weeks ago (I think someone got skipped accidentally). It should be okay going forward though. Maybe. I don't really know what I'm talking about. ;-)

CA Heaven said...

You got a couple of my favorites in your post; van Gogh and Escher (the-eye-with-scull that I use as my profile picture is by Escher). Also, I like Edvard Munch, Hieronymus Bosch and Goya >:)

Shaharizan Perez said...

Jan, I am so sorry. I thought you knew about the schedule changes. My bad!

Leanne, yup! You are correct. Someone did get skipped and then there was the mix up last week with Topical Tuesday. I had it up for this week instead of last week so Tami fixed it. Thanks Tami.

CAS- I love Van Gogh also. I have to look up Munch, Bosch and Goya. Thanks so much for the suggestions.